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Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include Greta Gerwig, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Albert Maysles, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo, and more. By turns funny, tragic, poignant, and celebratory, Worn Stories offers a revealing look at the clothes that protect us, serve as a uniform, assert our identity, or bring back the past—clothes that are encoded with the stories of our lives.
physical and emotional amnesia. And it makes me wonder why do we, why do I, do something that I’m so anxious to forget? I don’t want the clothes but I don’t want to not want the clothes. To throw them away, to donate them would be to leave these blurry nights unexamined. So I keep the sweatshirts and T-shirts and face my growing pile. Laura Jane Kenny is a fashion writer living in New York. 47 Meghan O’Rourke My brother bought this T-shirt at the Saratoga Race Course in 1989. Easy Goer was a
our cultural identity. I went to Black Panther meetings, got involved with the Nation of Islam movement and the Five-Percent Nation. I knew I needed to stay close to my own spiritual substance, but the street kept pulling me. I still wanted to be fly, especially because I’d never been fly. To understand what a garment like this does to a person, you have to have had holes in your shoes. As kids growing up in Harlem, we all had holes in our shoes. We used to stuff newspaper in them. If you walked
She disappeared from the room, and then reappeared with the smallest adult leather jacket I had ever seen. Perfect classic motorcycle styling, snaps, zippers, collar; it was everything I had ever wanted. The jacket fit like a dream. As the story goes, one of our friends had found it while thrifting. She bought it, realized it was too small for her, and then passed it around the more petite members of our social circle, until my friend Emily snagged it and gave it to me. I have treasured it ever
coming. This past weekend, I walked by the storefront with my kids and took a picture of them in front of the empty space that will soon be my store. That photo reminded me of old photos of families proudly standing in front of their businesses, and it made me think about the legacy of the family business that I’m in the midst of creating. Back in 2002 things were very different. I was living in a small apartment on the Lower East Side with my then-boyfriend Eugene, splitting the $400 per month
Hindu chants on the other side of the bonfire every night. Everyone was stroking each other with love and spiritual guidance, and it was just fucking beautiful. I met this American journalist, Rob, and I found out that we were going on the same twoweek silent meditation retreat. I’d admired his shirt, which he had custom made at a local tailor; I just thought it was dope. We hung out all afternoon and we bathed together at the intersection of the rivers at sundown. Afterward, he gave me his